International Criminal Court
Jun 18, 2021 @ 10:06

Hands tied: PH still duty-bound to cooperate with ICC probe despite pullout, lawyer says

The Philippines is still bound by its responsibilities under the Rome Statute despite its decision to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2019, abogado Gilbert Andres said.

The trustee of the Center for International Law Philippines told One News’ The Chiefs that the Duterte administration cannot just ignore the looming full investigation of the ICC once it is approved by the court’s pre-trial chamber.

“The Philippines, even though it withdrew, still has that obligation actually to cooperate with the ICC. That’s actually the residual obligation of the Philippines under Article 127, paragraph 2 of the Rome Statute,” the lawyer said.

The said portion of the Rome Statute reads as follows: “A State shall not be discharged, by reason of its withdrawal, from the obligations
arising from this Statute while it was a Party to the Statute, including any financial obligations which may have accrued. Its withdrawal shall not affect any cooperation with the Court in connection with criminal investigations and proceedings in relation to which the withdrawing State had a duty to cooperate and which were commenced prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective, nor shall it
prejudice in any way the continued consideration of any matter which was already under consideration by the Court prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective.”

For Andres, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s argument is not valid as the ICC can always probe a country which was once part of the Rome Statute. Manila was part of the court’s jurisdiction from November 1, 2011 to March 16, 2019, and it can probe the alleged crimes against humanity of murder committed under Duterte’s drug war during that period, regardless of the pullout.

“In the unfortunate event that the Philippine administration refuses to cooperate then I think the ICC-Office of the Prosecutor still has creative means to resort to so that it can have a good investigation as to the international crimes committed in the Philippines,” Andres added.

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